This article covers the installation of Mac OS 9 onto Windows 10 through an emulator called SheepShaver. It will also cover the installation of programs and instructions for using the internet in the emulator. It’s possible to run other versions of Mac OS through SheepShaver and to do so on a Mac, and the information below will be helpful for this, however the scope of this article will not cover other operating systems specifically.
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WHAT IS AN EMULATOR?
An emulator is, in very simple terms, a software goblin that tricks your computer into thinking it has the hardware and software of an old console or computer. Emulators create an artificial hardware environment on your computer that makes the software think it’s running on it’s original hardware. Like how your Sim thinks it’s living a “real” life and not in a simulation.
In our case, we’ll be installing SheepShaver, which will create an artificial Mac hardware environment which we will then install a Mac operating system onto.
There are three files you will need to download to begin this process.
SheepShaver –––––– https://www.emaculation.com/doku.php/sheepshaver
Mac OS 9 Operating System (physical or image file)
One will be the SheepShaver program, which comes in a folder full of libraries needed for it to work properly along with the SheepShaver GUI (graphical user interface), which will let you change SheepShaver preferences. You can find the SheepShaver download at https://www.emaculation.com/doku.php/sheepshaver.
Next you will need a ROM file. ROM stands for Read Only Memory. It’s a non-volatile type of memory which means it doesn’t need a constant current of electricity to retain the memory. The data is usually permanent and normally cannot be written onto. Among other things, ROM holds the information that a computer needs to start up. A ROM file is needed for this little emulation soup so the emulated computer can start up and run. If you search online for ‘redundant robot’ you’re bound to find the right one. This page had 2 options for ROM files – an old world ROM and a new world ROM. The new world ROM is recommended for Mac OS 9, however I only found success with the old world ROM.
The last thing you will need is the Mac OS 9 operating system. If you have an old install disc kicking around, you can use it and feel a wave of golden nostalgia rush through your veins as you pop the disc into the disc drive. If you don’t have a disc you can find disc image files online to use instead. A disc image is a file that contains everything a physical disc would. These files will often be in .iso or .toast formats.
Once all these files are downloaded and extracted, it might help to put them into the same folder.
Before moving on to the next step, rename the ROM file to "Mac OS 9 ROM" with no extension. An error message will pop up but you can continue past this.
SETTING UP THE GUI
Press "Create" to create a Hardfile
Name the file whatever you like, followed by the extension .hfv. I named mine "Mac OS 9.hfv"
Change the size to be 500 mb or higher
Back in the Volumes tab, click "Add"
Find and select your OS 9 image file
Choose your CD-ROM drive from the drop-down menu
Select the box next to "Enable my computer icon on your mac desktop"
Change the Window Refresh Rate to "Dynamic"
Change the Video Type and width and height to your preferred settings
Change Ram Size to 512
Check "Ignore illegal memory accesses"
Now we can open SheepShaver! Press the "Start" button at the bottom left of the GUI window. If you're using a disc image file, when you open it for the first time you’ll probably get an error message. In order to progress beyond this screen, you’ll have to exit out of SheepShaver using the task manager (ctrl+alt+del), then locate your disc image file, right click, open “properties” at the bottom of the menu, and check “read only”. The original disc would have been read only, so if this doesn’t match up it won’t let you install the file.
OPERATING SYSTEM INSTALLATION
Time for the exciting part – installing the operating system! First a window will pop up asking if you want to initialize the hard drive. Name it anything and check that the format is Mac OS Standard. Click initialize and continue. Locate and open the Mac OS 9 disc image file on the desktop. Next, open the “Mac OS 9 install” program and follow the steps. You can customize your installation or go with the recommended settings. Then press "Start" and the installation will begin. Once it’s finished, click quit and restart the emulator.
**Restart and shut down options can be found under "Special" in the top menu bar.**
After the program resets, it will most likely take a while to load up again. If at any point in this process the emulator freezes, restart the program using task manager. The program will then take you through the Mac OS Setup Assistant.
Now that the operating system is up and running, you will probably want to run some shiny old games and applications. Like the Operating System Install program, you can find disc image files for games and programs online. Poke around on the web long enough and I’m sure you’ll find what you’re looking for. Keep in mind that these files will often be in .sit, .iso or .toast formats. I’ll cover the installation of these file types below.
The first thing to note is that if any of your downloads are in a .zip folder, you will have to extract them on your real life computer before opening them in the emulator.
One cool thing about this emulator is that it lets you access all the files on your real computer through the Mac operating system, which you can do by opening the “This PC” folder on the desktop. From here you can navigate to the location of your downloaded game files.
“.sit” Stands for “Stuff It” which is a type of compressed archive file. The mac has a stuffit expander that can take care of these files for you. While in the emulator, double click on the .sit file to open it. When an error message pops up, press “okay” and choose a folder or make one for the file to be expanded into. Then click “Select… folder name” at the bottom. Now the unstuffer will start unstuffing. Navigate to the folder you just selected or created to open all the stuff. When you open it, everything should be running smoothly, depending on how reliable your file is.
ISO & TOAST FILES
There’s an added step if the file you’re trying to install is a .iso or .toast file. You may have to unstuff it like I had to do here, following the same steps as earlier, but if you try to run the unstuffed file, an error message will appear. In order to run this file, navigate to the Mac OS 9 disc, open it, and click into a folder called “utilities”. Inside this folder is an application called “Disk Copy.” This can be used to mount a disc image file. Locate your disc image file in the finder and drag it onto the disk copy window. It will mount the disc image for you and an icon should pop up on your desktop. Your application should now run.
USING THE INTERNET
Although the web browsing capabilities of Mac OS 9 in this emulator will be very limited due to the incompatibilities between modern websites and an out of date browser, it is possible to connect to the internet.
SHEEPSHAVER GUI SETTINGS
Open the SheepShaver GUI
Navigate to the "Network" tab
Next to "Ethernet Interface," select "Basilisk II Slirp"
In the emulator, click the top left apple icon —> control panel —> TCP/IP
Fill in the settings as shown below:
Now your internet should work, however a specific web browser called "Classilla" will have to be installed in order to do anything on the network.
Find the .sit file download at https://sourceforge.net/projects/classilla/
Download the most recent file called "/9.3.4b/Classilla9.3.4b.sit"
Install using the steps for .sit files (above)
Hours of fun can be had with a freshly installed Mac OS 9 operating system. Funny system voices, peculiar games and applications, and spicy wallpapers abound. I wish you well as you embark on this life-changing journey of nostalgic magic.